Commissioners

Chairman: Sir Howard Bernstein, Manchester City Council     

Having joined Manchester City Council as a Junior Clerk, Sir Howard Bernstein rose to become the Council’s Chief Executive in 1998. He was instrumental in the rebuilding and regeneration of Manchester’s city centre following the terrorist bombing in 1996, and has played a key role in regenerating areas around the city, driving forward major projects such as the International Convention Centre and SportCity Complex, and attracting millions of pounds in inward investment. Sir Howard was central to the introduction of Manchester’s groundbreaking Metrolink transport system and to Manchester’s successful bid for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Recognition of Sir Howard's contribution to Manchester includes being awarded an honorary degree by UMIST in 2003, Manchester University in 2004, Manchester Metropolitan University in 2005 and Mancunian of the Year also in 2003. Sir Howard was knighted for his services to Manchester in the New Year’s Honours 2003. The Financial Times group FDI named Sir Howard as their European personality of the year in 2004.


Helen Bailey

Helen Bailey has been Chief Executive of Local Partnerships since January 2011. 

Helen was previously Director of Public Services at HM Treasury, responsible for spending on Local Government, Housing, Health and Education.  She also has experience as a Local Authority Chief Executive in the London Borough of Islington from 2002 – 2008.  Prior to that, Helen has had a career in public service and management consultancy.

Her experience is all around facilitating and delivering change in the public sector and she brings unrivalled insights into Central and Local government.


Matthew Bennett

Matthew has lived in Soho since 1968 and owned a restaurant there for 26 years. He also built up a successful environmental business, London Recycling, which was sold to a PLC in 2009.

Matthew has been involved in issues in the West End for many years, including acting as Secretary of the Save Piccadilly Campaign which fought plans in 1972 to redevelop the Piccadilly Circus area. He created and ran projects to tackle youth homelessness in the West End, set up the Central Cities Institute at the University of Westminster and established a 'not for profit' property company to promote mixed use development in the West End. Matthew is a founder committee member of the Soho Society and the Soho Housing Association (past chairman) and a former chair of governors of Soho Parish School.

Matthew currently chairs the Westminster Citizens’ Advice Licensing Service. He is the deputy chairman of Keep Britain Tidy and chairman of the Conservation Foundation. He is also promoting studies on retrofitting Soho for sustainability with Westminster City Council and English Heritage.


Julian Bird

Julian has been Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre and Theatrical Management Association since November 2010. Prior to that he was the Chief Operating Officer for Tate, leading the day-to-day operations of the Tate group. Before moving to work in the arts, Julian spent 9 years at the Financial Services Authority, joining upon its inception.  Before the FSA, Julian worked at the Bank of England, and also worked in various arts and entertainment companies.

Julian is involved in several other arts-related charities.  He is one of the trustees of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, and the Southwold & Aldeburgh Theatre Trust.  He is also a trustee of the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea.

In his role, Julian acts as executive producer for the annual Olivier Awards, held each April, to celebrate the past year’s theatre in London.


Greg Clark

Based in London, Greg Clark is an international mentor and advocate on city and metropolitan management, investment, development and governance. His work is organised through a portfolio of institutional roles, including:

  • Chairman/Chief Advisor, OECD LEED Forum on Development Agencies and Investment Strategies
  • Global Fellow, Brookings Institution, Washington DC
  • Senior Fellow, Urban Land Institute, EMEA & India
  • Lead Advisor, Urbanisation Knowledge Programme, World Bank

He also holds several board directorships and leadership roles, including:

  • Chairman, London Anglia Growth Partnership
  • Chairman, British BIDs Advisory Board
  • Board of Directors, Centre for London
  • Professor of City Leadership, Cass Business School, City of London

Greg is the author of more than ten books on international city management issues and holds advisory roles with 10 major cities in 5 continents.


Harvey Goldsmith CBE

Harvey Goldsmith has produced, managed and promoted shows with most of the world's major recording artists, including Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Queen, The Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Shirley Bassey, U2, Elton John and Pink Floyd. After promoting the first major global TV fundraising event of its kind, the Concert for Kampuchea in 1978, Harvey organised the now historic Live Aid concert with Bob Geldof in 1985, raising £140 million for famine relief in Ethiopia and inspiring hundreds of similar events. In 2005 Harvey was a producer of the Live 8 series of concerts.

Harvey instigated and produced the Led Zeppelin show in London in December 2007 and in October 2008 produced ‘Salute Petra’, the official tribute concert to Luciano Pavarotti held in Petra, Jordan under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein. He took over the management of guitarist Jeff Beck in 2008. Harvey is Chairman of the Board of The British Music Experience which opened at the O2 Arena in March 2009. In September 2009 he produced the Tower Festival in the Tower of London, which ran for 10 days. In December 2011, Harvey became Event 100 Club’s most influential person in the Events business, and as Chairman of Ignite, took the agency to new levels in 2011.

Harvey has received numerous awards in recognition of his contribution to the music industry, including an Honorary Fellowship from Ravensbourne College and an honorary doctorate from the University of Brighton. Other accolades have included the 15th Music Industry Trust's Awards (MITS) and the International Music Person of the Year Award, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Minister of Culture, the Freedom of the City of London and the British Order of Chivalry. In 1996, Harvey was honoured with a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. More recently he received a Diamond Award from the Queen for his contribution to the arts.


David Kaner

David Kaner has lived in Covent Garden since 1993.  His professional background is as a Supply Chain Director in Consumer Goods businesses, and he now works as a Consultant and Lecturer in Operations Management.

David has been involved in Covent Garden Community Association for many years on Planning and Licensing issues.  He has worked with both Camden and Westminster Councils to improve their Licensing policies, and has contributed to DCMS and Home Office reviews of the legislation as well as negotiating with many applicants and their solicitors to agree an appropriate compromise between the operator and local residents.

David is also Chair of the charity HOPE worldwide, which through its Two Step programme helps 400 homeless people to get off the streets each year in London and also runs ODAAT, a successful rehabilitation programme for drug addicts.


Professor Henry Overman

Henry Overman, BSc. (Bristol), Msc. (LSE), PhD. (LSE), AcSS, FRSA is Professor of Economic Geography in the department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics and director of the Spatial Economics Research Centre. His current research interests include the causes and consequences of spatial disparities and the impact of urban and regional policy. His research has been published in leading economics journals (The Review of Economics Studies and The Quarterly Journal of Economics) and leading economic geography journals (Environment and Planning and Journal of Economic Geography).

Prof Overman continues to publish in journals from both disciplines as well as editing the inter-disciplinary Journal of Economic Geography. He has provided policy advice to, amongst others, the European Commission, the Manchester Independent Economic Review, Department for International Development, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Transport. He is a member of the Manchester Economic Advisory Panel and is also affiliated with the Centre for Economic Performance and the Centre for Economic Policy Research.


David Partridge

David joined Argent in 1990 and was appointed Joint Chief Executive in September 2006. He has overall responsibility for structuring and establishing financial and management programmes for all Argent business.

David oversees the masterplanning, building design, financing and legal aspects for all projects – including King’s Cross, Piccadilly and St Peter’s Square in Manchester and Paradise Circus in Birmingham. 

David is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. After a degree in architecture at Cambridge, he became a founding partner of Gebler Tooth Partridge Architects.

He is a Non-Executive Director of the Manchester Airports Group, a Director of Cityco, the Manchester City Centre Management Company, and Chairman of the King’s Cross Business Partnership Ltd. David has also sat on a number of RIBA practice committees.


Geoffrey Riesel

Geoffrey Riesel has been in the taxi business for almost 40 years. Having been a Director of Radio Taxis since 1988 he became Chairman in 1993 and he was responsible for completely modernising the business, including the incorporation of GPS satellite data despatch systems at least 5 years before GPS became widely used.

In 2004 he demutualised the company from a drivers’ co-operative into a shareholder-owned group of companies, securing external investment. The Radio Taxis Group now includes 2500 self employed taxi drivers (around 800 of whom remain shareholders) and 250 employees, and incorporates Radio Taxis, Xeta Taxis and One Transport Limited, which supplies fleets of vehicles to organisations including the BBC, HSBC, UBS, LOCOG and the Nurses and Midwifery Council. Radio Taxis is an active sponsor of numerous charities and is the world’s first carbon neutral taxi company.

Geoffrey is a Director of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a member of the Confederation of British Industry’s London regional council, a former chair of London First’s street management group and a consultee for the MPC at the Bank of England. He has held positions on London-wide and international taxi associations and boards and is a former LBC radio broadcaster and journalist. He has successfully lobbied for primary legislation changes in taxi and personal transport regulation, including the only successful amendment to the Greater London Authority Act 2000.


Professor Yvonne Rydin

Yvonne is Professor of Planning, Environment and Public Policy in the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London and Director of the UCL Environment Institute. She is a specialist in governance for urban sustainability and has made a particular study of sustainability indicators. She was project leader for an EU FP5 project entitled Promoting Action for Sustainability Through Indicators at the Local Level in Europe (PASTILLE).

Yvonne has written widely on different aspects of urban sustainability including air quality, transport and green spaces, and has recently published a book on Governing for Sustainable Urban Development (Earthscan: 2010). Her most recent research includes an EPSRC-funded project on Challenging Lock-in through Urban Energy Systems and a HEFCE-funded project on Sustainable Construction and Planning in London.


David Shaw

David leads the team at Crown Estate responsible for the £2.4bn Regent Street portfolio and its award-winning transformation over the past ten years, delivering a £1bn investment and development programme to make Regent Street an exemplar of portfolio management. The team brokered an investment partnership for Regent Street with Norges Bank Investment Management, who took a 25% stake.

David is a Director of the New West End Company, working to secure London’s wider West End as the premier shopping and leisure destination in London and the UK. Prior to joining The Crown Estate, David has worked across retail, development and investment sectors, including as a Management Board Director of the Burton Group where he was responsible for retail planning and property. 


Jim Steer

Jim Steer is a transport expert and consultant. He founded Steer Davies Gleave – an independent employee-owned company with 300 staff and Britain’s leading independent transport consultancy.

He launched Greengauge 21 in 2006 to stimulate a debate on high-speed rail in Britain, and formed a Public Interest Group to fund the necessary strategic studies and research. From 2002 to 2005 Jim was seconded to the Strategic Rail Authority where he was a member of the Executive responsible for forward planning activity. During this time, he was also Director of Cross London Rail Links Ltd, the sponsor of London’s Crossrail.

He has led policy and investment assignments for Buenos Aires, Dublin, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Paris, Santiago, Sydney, and Valencia. His work has embraced all modes of transport and many major developments, including Canary Wharf, where his practice has been retained continuously since 1985. In London he has led major studies on Victoria Coach Station, Thameslink and bus policy and efficiency (under both London mayors).

Jim was Transport Adviser to the Northern Way from 2006 to 2010, helping to identify priorities across the northern cities and regions. He is a Chartered Civil Engineer, Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and author of a regular column for the ‘Transport Times’.


Simon Thomas

Simon Thomas was born in 1965. He received a First Class Honours Degree from Bristol University and then worked in the City before entering a family business.

He was the youngest ever President of the industry trade association BACTA and he is also on the strategy committee of NCIF, the main casino association. His various roles have led to high level involvement with Parliament, the Gaming Commission, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Simon has extensive multi-site leisure experience ranging from sites with six to 450 employees and services including gambling, bars, restaurants, cinema, cabaret and live entertainment.

He is currently chairman of Hippodrome Casino Limited, which is an extensive leisure-based casino complex at the Hippodrome in Leicester Square, He is a Director of a number of other companies, and is also a trustee of Gamcare, the UK’s main problem gambling charity. He is married with 3 children and lives in London.

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